SOURCE: Ascendant Copper Corporation

August 23, 2006 09:00 ET

Ascendant Copper Corporation Announces Preparation Work for Drilling at Its Chaucha Copper Porphyry Project, Ecuador

VANCOUVER, BC -- (MARKET WIRE) -- August 23, 2006 -- Ascendant Copper Corporation (TSX: ACX) ("Ascendant" or the "Company") announced today that preparation for an exploration drilling program, which includes camp rehabilitation and construction of road access, at its Chaucha copper-molybdenum, gold, and silver porphyry project is expected to be completed by the end of August with drilling to commence by mid-September. The Chaucha property consists of the 3,000-hectare (7,413-acre) Janeth 1 concession located 70 km to the west of the town of Cuenca in the Chaucha parish of the Azuay province of southern Ecuador on the western slope of the Anders in the Cordillera Occidental.

Historical exploration work on the Chaucha porphyry system discovered six priority targets: Naranjos, Pita Medio, Gur-Gur/Rio Lanto, Loma de Tunas, Malacatos, and San Gabriel. Prior work in the Gur-Gur area by BHP Billiton ("BHP") in 1998 resulted in a geologic estimate of 43.4 million tonnes of mineralization containing 516 million lbs of copper (Cu) (0.4% copper cutoff) and 28 million lbs molybdenum (2). Commencing as early as 1972 and continuing through 1995, some limited exploration work, including some drilling and assaying, was carried out on four of the six target areas by several entities. Based on this work and as reported by Micon International in a 43-101 report prepared by them for the Chaucha property (2), the Naranjos target area is estimated to contain 120 million tonnes of copper mineralization averaging 0.4 to 0.5% Cu (0.3% copper cutoff) and 0.02 to 0.03% molybdenum. The other areas in aggregate are estimated to contain approximately 40 million tonnes of copper mineralization averaging 0.2 to 0.3% Cu (0.2% copper cutoff) (3).

Ascendant has contracted with a local drilling company, Micusa Drilling Ltd. S.A., to complete a US$600,000 drilling program on the Chaucha concession. A LongYear 44 drill rig has been purchased and is being imported into Ecuador from Chile, with delivery expected in early September. The drill exploration program will consist of 5,000 meters of drilling for 10-12 holes to a depth of up to 600 meters.

The Company has completed an Environmental Impact Study which has been approved by the Ministry of Energy and Mines. The local communities have been approached and informed about the project. "The people are ecstatic about the Chaucha Project being brought back to life," says Gary E. Davis, President and CEO of Ascendant. "Drill pads are currently being established so that drilling can commence immediately upon the drill rig arriving on site."

The drill access road, which is in the process of final widening and grading, is within 1,000 meters of the existing Naranjos exploration camp located on the concession. The Naranjos field camp has been rehabilitated to the point where geologists and support staff are living at the site. Housing for the drill crew and the buildings to support the drill exploration program will be ready for use by the end of this month.

Exploration geologic work completed by the Company to date includes relogging of the historic BHP core from the Gur-Gur target area as well as the historic Japanese-Belgium mission core from the Naranjos and Pita Media target areas. Regional geologic mapping of the Janeth 1 concession is nearing completion.

Recent reconnaissance soil sampling has been completed in the Naranjos, Loma de Tunas, and Pita Media target areas. The geochemical results from these soil samples show strong copper and molybdenum anomalies that have not been drill tested. Especially encouraging are the results from the Loma de Tunas ridge and the southbound ridge at Pita Media.

The Loma de Tunas ridge copper anomaly (+ 600 ppm Cu) is over 1,200 meters in length and 600 meters in width with a central area (750 m x 600 m) of over 1,200 ppm Cu. Numerous individual soil samples, especially those located on both of the side slopes of the Tunas ridge line, exceed 4,000 ppm Cu, which suggests either the presence of an enrichment zone or primary copper mineralization associated with hydrothermal brecciation.

The Pita Media anomaly (+2500 ppm Cu), although smaller in size (750 m x 600 m), is more pronounced in grade (up to 9,500 ppm Cu.). The hydrothermal breccias encountered in the historic drill campaigns just to the west of this area suggest this copper anomaly may be a reflection of significant primary grade mineralization in bedrock.

After detailed remapping of the float from both the Loma de Tunas and Pita Media areas, the geologic interpretation is that this mineralization represents a high-level zone where hydrothermal breccias are beginning to breach through the older Lomas de Tunas porphyry, although enrichment cannot be ruled out. This is the same style of mineralization encountered at Gur-Gur where the BHP drill holes intersected continuous hydrothermal brecciation and mineralization that averaged 0.6% Cu. over 120 meters (Holes DDH 2 & 3). It should be noted, however, that these historical results were derived prior to the implementation of NI 43-101 and may not be compliant with NI 43-101 measures.

This release was reviewed by John R. King, Executive Advisor to Ascendant, who is a Fellow in good standing of the Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) and who has an application pending for Qualified Person status as defined in National Instrument 43-101, Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101").

Ascendant's principal business is the exploration for copper in Ecuador. The primary property is the Junin Project located in northern Ecuador, a copper-molybdenum, gold and silver porphyry property with an inferred mineral resource of 982 million tonnes grading 0.89% copper, 0.04% molybdenum and 1.9 grams per ton of silver, at a 0.4% copper cut-off grade (1). The Company is advancing the Chaucha property located in southern Ecuador, a copper-molybdenum porphyry overlain by an extensive supergene blanket. The Chaucha property is currently classified as a geologic mineral property (2). The Company recently purchased the Telimbela copper/molybdenum property in south/central Ecuador, which project is in the early stages of exploration.

Company contact: Gary E. Davis, President, at 303-824-0271.

Ascendant Copper Corporation
"Gerald E. (Gary) Davis"
President and CEO

(1) See "Technical Report Review of the Quartz Porphyry-Hosted Copper-Molybdenum Mineralisation at Junin, Otavalo, Ecuador" prepared by Qualified Person, Paul D. Gribble, C. Eng., Senior Mineral Resources Geologist, of Micon International Co Limited ("Micon").

(2) See "Technical Report dated April 8, 2005, and amended August 5, 2005, Review of the Quartz Porphyry-Hosted Copper-Molybdenum Mineralisation at Chaucha, Cuenca, Ecuador" prepared by Qualified Persons, Paul D. Gribble, C. Eng., Senior Mineral Resources Geologist, and David T. Wells, Senior Metallurgist, of Micon. The Chaucha property is presently classified only as a geologic mineral property.

(3) Because of the uncertainty that may attach to these preliminary estimates, it cannot be assumed that all or any part of this reported mineralization will be upgraded to a mineral resource category as a result of continued exploration. See "Final Long Form Prospectus."

The Toronto Stock Exchange does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this news release.

Contact Information

  • Company contact:
    Gary E. Davis

    10920 West Alameda Avenue, Suite 201
    Lakewood, CO 80226
    Tel: (303) 824-0271
    Fax: (303) 297-0538
    Email Contact